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The Mill to Close Special Effects Studio

It has been announced that special effects studio The Mill, which has created special effects for Doctor Who since its revival in 2005, will be closing its TV department.

The close of the studio has been attributed to the ending of BBC series Merlin and the lack of a new Doctor Who series this year (most of the special effects for the new series were done last year). Further information is below:

The move will see the departure of senior figures such as Mill TV’s managing director and executive producer Will Cohen. The Mill CEO Robin Shenfield said that Mill TV, which had successfully built itself a reputation for VFX on shows such as Doctor Who and Merlin, had weathered losses in 2012 and those losses had accelerated in the first quarter of 2013. 

The facility will now focus primarily on its commercials business. The department had suffered a number of setbacks such as failing to join the roster on Starz/BBC production of DaVinci’s Demons and the cancellation of Sky’s Sinbad sequel.  Going forward, broadcasters are commissioning less high end VFX driven drama series this year, with Merlin discontinued and the BBC not commissioning a Doctor Who series this year.  

“While TV vfx have been less volatile than film – last year the US studios spent far less than they did in 2011– TV also seems to have caught the bug and there have been less of those high end commissions and repeat series.” 

Shenfield underlined that The Mill’s vfx offices in LA, New York and Chicago are doing good business and that he wasn’t “negative about film and TV vfx in the UK. I think the work will return in both film and TV. We are just at a point of haitus.” “We have reluctantly decided that this is a business we do not want to play in any more, although I am immensely proud of what we have achieved.” Shenfield added: “We hope we will be able to re-deploy a number of those people elsewhere in the group and are looking very hard at that.” 

The aim is to close the operation at the end of April, subject to a consultation period that starts with immediate effect. The Mill’s Television and Film studio has created high-end visual effects for both broadcast and film, collaborating on television projects such as Doctor Who, Merlin and Sherlock for the BBC, and Elizabeth and Longford for Channel 4.